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From childcare to excellent public schools to an innovative community college and nearby universities and training programs, education is a lifelong journey.

 Higher Education

As the Alleghany Highlands’ hometown college, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is proud to offer dynamic and innovative training and degree programs for the region’s students and businesses.” – Dr. John Rainone, President

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is part of the Virginia Community College System. It offers credit and non-credit courses on its Clifton Forge campus as well as through distance learning. DSLCC also offers classes at the Greenfield Education & Training Center in Botetourt County and the Rockbridge Regional Center in Buena Vista.

DSLCC works with the community and area business to develop cutting-edge degree and training programs that educate and train students for tomorrow’s jobs and today’s high-growth careers. They include:

  • Advanced Manufacturing & Packaging Technology: A state-of-the-art training lab gives students extensive, hands-on practice to prepare for a new job or advance in a current one.
  • Massage Therapy: Both the Career Studies and Certificate Programs prepare students for the National Certification Examination in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Jobs await in healthcare, business and recreational settings such as spas and nearby resorts such as The Homestead and Greenbrier.
  • Wind Turbine Service Technology: New in the 2010-11 academic year, the program prepares students for careers in the growing alternative energy sector.
  • Forest Management Technology: Supports forestry and forest-related industries that are vital to the economy of Virginia, where 60 percent of the total land area is forested. Graduates of the program can go on to a four-year institution such as Virginia Tech or pursue a career in forestry, urban tree care or forest products.

Read about all courses of study here.

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is one of 12 colleges and universities within an hour’s drive including two medical schools and a law school – more than 26,000 students. Each year, more than 3,200 students graduate, earning degrees at all levels, from Associates to Masters to Professional.

School Location Enrollment
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College Clifton Forge 1,848
New River Community & Technical College* Greenbrier, WV 3,127
Virginia Western Community College Roanoke 12,000
Hollins University Roanoke 802
Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke 1,062
American National University Salem 1,859
Roanoke College Salem 1,893
Southern Virginia University Buena Vista 777
Virginia Military Institute Lexington 1,700
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Roanoke 123
Washington & Lee University Lexington 2,264
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine Lewisburg, WV 818

Fall 2012 Headcount, with the exception of the two West Virginia schools and National College.
*Total enrollment on 5 campuses

Public Schools

More than 3,500 students attend the Highlands’ two school systems – Alleghany County and the Covington City, and more than 20,100 attend schools in the Alleghany Highlands’ nine school districts.

Alleghany Highlands Labor Shed Education: By the Numbers

Total Graduates (11-12):1,494
Average Graduates Continuing Education:69.3%
Average Drop-Out Rate:6.3%

Source: Virginia Dept. of Education and West Virginia Department of Education for the 2011-12 academic year.

Drop-Out Rate
The drop-out rate for broader labor draw area is lower than the Virginia average.

Sources: Virginia and West Virginia departments of education

Student/Teacher Ratios

School System K-7 8-12
Alleghany County 11.5 9.8
Bath County 10.4 10.4
Botetourt County 12.9 12.9
Craig County 12.3 10.3
Rockbridge County 11.8 10.1
Covington City 11.3 8.2
Lexington City* 12.7 13.8
Greenbrier County, WV 13.5 13.5
Monroe County, WV 14.3 14.3

* Lexington City Schools 8-12 data only includes the 8th grade
Sources: Virginia and West Virginia departments of education. (West Virginia pupil teacher ratios for the whole district.)

Alleghany County is a competitive public education system with fully accredited schools. The system received the 2008 Charles Edgar Clear Award for excellent schools from the Virginia Educational Research Association. Alleghany provides special education opportunities, gifted student programs, and a technical education program preparing students for futures in technology.

Alleghany County Public Schools
Membership (Fall 2017): 2,235
Elementary Schools: 3
Middle Schools: 1
High Schools: 1
Graduates Continuing Education: 79.6%
Per Pupil Expenditure: $11,856
Pupil/Teacher Ratios: K-7 – 11.5
8-12 – 13.1

City of Covington boasts three accredited schools and offers a competitive education for its students. Covington provides a continuum of services in kindergarten through grade twelve for students gifted in intellectual aptitude. Career and technical education prepares students to enter the workforce.

Covington City Public Schools
Membership (Fall 2012): 1,064
Elementary Schools: 1
Intermediate Schools: 1
High Schools: 1
Graduates Continuing Education: 82.5%
Per Pupil Expenditure: $11,982
Pupil/Teacher Ratios: K-7 – 11.3
8-12 – 11.1

“We take our role in preparing the next workforce very seriously. We are committed to continuous improvement and we will continue to concentrate on increasing student achievement and preparing students for success in the global economy and 21st-century workplace.” – Dr. Thomas E. Long, Superintendent of Covington City Public Schools

Other Educational Opportunities

Jackson River Governor’s School is a regional public school for motivated students in grades 11 and 12 who want to learn all they can about science, mathematics, and technology. Located at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, it serves students from five school divisions in western Virginia: Alleghany County, Bath County, Botetourt County, Buena Vista City and Covington City.

Governor’s School differs in many ways from a traditional high school. Some of the differences include daily schedule, pace of work, group work, grading, relationships with faculty members, equipment and atmosphere.

Students attending Governor’s School attend math, science and technology classes at DSLCC in the morning and return to their home high schools for afternoon classes in English, social studies, and electives.

Jackson River Technical Center is jointly operated by the Alleghany County and Covington City school systems, and offers courses primarily for 10th through 12th grade students. Courses allow students to earn credit toward graduation and receive a vocational certificate.

Course subjects include marketing, business, work experience, health assistants, automotive technology, carpentry, computer systems technology, early childhood education, culinary arts and welding technology. Adult and evening classes also are offered.

Private Schools

Childcare and Preschool

Alleghany Highlands YMCA Child Care

Edgemont Nursery School

Mt. Carmel Preschool

YMCA Child Care



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